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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/29/20

Vote for Them? Never!

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BK Faunce
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Democratic Leaders
Democratic Leaders
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One popular definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing over and over and over and expecting different results.

In 1992, they flatter you. They appear to speak your language and it "inspired hopes for a rebirth of '60s-style political idealism," especially in first-time voters. They promise to champion the causes you championed. They promise to reform the legislation that created wealth inequality. They promise to make cities and neighborhoods safe. They will bring back good paying jobs. They will strengthen families. They will govern on behalf of the people.

Once in power, they do the opposite.

They ignore you. They brush aside your concerns with a condescending flick of the wrist. They give you NAFTA instead, which loses over a million jobs. They give you "super-predators," which locks up a generation of young men of color. They cut funding for welfare, which forces single-mothers to work outside the home. They repeal Glass-Steagall, which gives Wall Street the green light to pilfer with impunity.

Admit it, you got played. You were the mark in the flim-flam. The pigeon. The sucker who got her wallet lifted while trying to help someone cross the street. They triangulated you and everything you cared about, everything you fought for, everything you believed in. They made you irrelevant.

Eight years later, in the 2008 presidential campaign, they run virtually the same exact con.

At first, they flatter you. They tell you that you're part of a larger movement driven by hope and change. They tell you they hear your calls for a less bellicose, more accommodating foreign policy. They tell you no one is above the law. They tell you multi-billion dollar tax cuts for the wealthy are obscene and will be repealed. They tell you torture violates American values. They tell you they will reform the for-profit health care system to include a "public option." They tell you they will be the most transparent gov't in history, offering special protections to whistleblowers. They tell you they will defend the rights of immigrants.

Once in power, they do the opposite.

They laugh at you. They mock you. They smear you as "retarded." They ridicule your policy concerns. They not only continue the wars, they expand them. They deploy drones in a "global terrorist campaign" that murders thousands of innocent civilians, including Americans. They shred habeas corpus. They promote the torturers. They refuse to prosecute any of the criminal elites, thereby dispelling the myth that "no one is above the law." They make tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. They form a committee to slash Social Security. They use TARP money to bail out the crooks who caused the 2007 recession, while ignoring the 9.3 million Americans who lost their property. They put Chelsea Manning, Stanley Kim, Jeffery Sterling and John Kiriakou in prison for blowing the whistle on their corruption. They hound Edward Snowden into exile and make sure Julian Assange goes to / stays in prison for revealing their involvement in war crimes. They pass a law that ensures health care will be controlled by the Health Care industry. They deport 3 million immigrants.

Is there a picture beginning to take shape? A mental image of the manner and the means through which the fraud is perpetrated? Tell voters what they want to hear, then turn right? Can you say, "fool me thrice"?

They can. It's 2016 and, to no one's surprise, they roll out the very same con.

At first, they ignore you. They reduce you and your movement and the candidate you've chosen to lead it to a state of non-existence. Invisible. Then they re-frame the narrative. They smear you r candidate. They lie about his credibility. They mock and deride the policy positions a large majority of you favor as "radical" and "unrealistic." How will we pay for it, they whine?

When that didn't work, they try swallowing the movement whole. They flatter you. They celebrate your energy and enthusiasm. They tell you they're progressives too, just like you, except, only, they're progressives who "get things done." They tell you they support increasing the minimum wage and funding for public education. They tell you they will phase out fossil fuels. They tell you they will reform the ACA and NAFTA. They tell you we're all in this together, working to uphold the "legacy" of the previous administration. Let the people speak. Democracy rules.

Then came the primaries and the real quest for power, and it wasn't even close.

They put party loyalists in charge. They limited debate. They bought votes. They shamed undecided voters. They manipulated databases. They disappeared progressives altogether, and then, just to be sure, they rigged the convention with superdelegates. The progressive candidate won every precinct, but they awarded the nomination to a corrupt, war-mongering corporatist. Note to base from party elites: "f**k you and your movement."

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BK Faunce is a retired Associate Professor of English (UMW / UCSC) specializing in British Romantic Literature, Film Theory and Writing. His recent work examines the use of state power and its impact on visual culture.

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